Sarah and Steven married on the edge of Loch Lomond, which has to be up there with one of the most beautiful places in the world. They were incredibly lucky with the weather and the sun shone down on their big day, meaning they could go ahead with a ceremony right at the edge of the water. It’s just magical.
Sarah planned lots of their big day from Australia and managed to DIY loads of components too – which is no mean feat when you’re on the other side of the world. Lots of organisation, online shopping and an obvious LOVE for wedding planning definitely helped 😉 The final result is gorgeous, really homespun and heartfelt.
Images come from Maureen Du Preez whose dreamy style always inspires me. Enjoy this one lovelies!
Sarah the Bride: I love all things vintage and knew that I wanted something different for my wedding dress. I love lace and so went hunting on the internet and found my Phase Eight dress from John Lewis. I wanted to create a 1950s look so added a petticoat underneath for a fuller skirt. I also didn’t want a traditional long veil. I am obsessed with pearls and found my lovely little birdcage veil on Etsy from a lady in Japan who makes them. I added some pearl and crystal haircombs that I found on Etsy from a lady in Israel. My shoes were a real find. They are blush/pale pink patent peep toes with bows and crystals that I found unworn for only $10 from a shop in Bondi Beach. I’ve actually worn them as a guest to other weddings before and they’re quite comfy. I thought they would be a nice way to introduce some pastel colour. I matched that with a blush belt with sequins and jewels that was my ‘something borrowed’ from a friend. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate some gloves and found a lace pair from China on Etsy. I found a new beautiful blush/pale pink satin clutch bag with crystals for a bargain from a Buy/Swap/Sell Facebook page for one of my favourite Australian brands, Forever New.
In looking at dresses online, I was finding it difficult to choose between 2 totally different styles that I liked, so I decided that I would be a diva and buy both! I wore one for the daytime and one for the night time. My evening dress was from Monsoon Bridal and again had a vintage look with gorgeous embellishments of pearls, silver thread and crystals. I bought some bridal shoes for a bargain on the same Buy/Swap/Sell Facebook page for Forever New. I kept my pearl and crystal hair combs in from my daytime outfit and added some pearl drop earrings and a pearl bracelet from Debenhams to complete my evening look.
Steven wanted to keep his look traditional and not choose one of the more modern tartans such as Blackwatch which are so popular at the moment. He looked into his traditional Buchanan clan tartan, but wasn’t a fan of the combination of colours. The Kilt Studio then advised him that the next step would be to look at the county tartan for where the Buchanans originated from, which was the County Longford tartan. Fortunately, Steven liked the unique look of this tartan with its deep, rich colours. He chose navy socks and a navy jacket, which were brand new arrivals to the shop. Steven liked the thought of wearing something a bit different to most other grooms and felt that the navy toned in well with the tartan. The Kilt Studio were fantastic at helping us get a head start from the other side of the world in Australia. Steven sent his measurements over via email and after phone calls to and advice from the shop, chose his tartan online.
Steven and I are not religious so we knew that we didn’t want to get married in a church setting. I had originally fantasised about the idea of getting married in a beautiful Scottish castle. However, after looking into the prices, we quickly realised that this was out of our budget. But, in reading locations of castles out to Steven to
ask his opinion, we came across Loch Lomond. Of course! Why hadn’t we thought of it earlier? Loch Lomond was the perfect location for us as it held sentimental value for both of us and appealed to our love of being by the water. Steven spent many camping trips with friends by the banks of Loch Lomond. Also, when I first came to Scotland, Loch Lomond was the first place that Steven took me when he wanted to show off the beautiful scenery of his country to me. After doing some research online, we really liked the look of the Waterfront at Loch Lomond in Balmaha, particularly as it gave us the opportunity to get married right on the shore next to the loch.
Obviously, living in Australia made planning a wedding in Scotland even more difficult, so the internet (and online shopping) became my best friend for about a year! Fortunately, Steven’s mum and stepdad helped us out by visiting the venue to meet with the owners and report back to us on whether they thought it was suitable for us. She took lots of videos and photos for us of the function rooms and the surrounding grounds, which were breathtaking. We also liked the fact that there were onsite lodges available as a convenient and luxurious accommodation option for
us, the bridal party and our guests…complete with hot tubs overlooking the loch!
I didn’t want to just stick to one or two colours for my theme. I wanted a whole range of colours, so we chose pastels like pink, lilac, blue, lemon, mint and peach. I wanted all of the styling and décor to be vintage and rustic chic inspired, so I bought lots of bridal magazines and got busy clipping from them for inspiration! After weeks of looking through magazines and Pinterest, I narrowed down my ideas and used my clippings to create a
moodboard. That was a great way for me to clearly identify my priorities and wish list for the day. I also took a photo of it and was able to share it with suppliers like the florist and photographer to help communicate my ideas and collaborate with them. I didn’t want anything about the day to be boring. We wanted our wedding to be different and memorable. I included decorations such as bunting and vintage teacups. My mother-in-law helped me out by shopping at charity shops for vintage tea cups for me. Candles were also essential and I make my own natural soy wax scented candles as a hobby so I made lots of little strawberries and champagne tealight candles, packed them in my suitcase to bring over to Scotland. I filled the teacups with strands of pearls, as well as my handmade candles to be lit for our wedding breakfast and create a gorgeous aroma and ambient mood in the room.
I also had a table with our wedding favours, which were compilation CDs that we put together with some of our favourite songs, all by artists that Steven and I had seen perform live in concert together. We found a girl in the USA on Etsy who created the custom labels for the CDs which make them look like a vinyl record. They also came with gorgeous brown kraft cardboard window CD sleeves, which were consistent with our kraft paper rustic invitations and menus. I put them in wooden crates to tie in with the rustic theme. Music is very important in our lives and we
love going to concerts together, so we wanted it to feature in a special way throughout our day. Instead of having traditional table numbers, the same girl from Etsy created table names for us on original 45” vinyl records. We named them after some of our favourite artists from different genres who we consider to be classic: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix. We wanted the whole day to feel very relaxed and we didn’t want to do everything the traditional way, so we didn’t have a seating plan.
The idea of the vinyls was for people to sit on the table of their favourite artist and for it to be a conversation starter, and a way for different people to mix and mingle. I also included a giant chalkboard with a schedule for the day so that guests would know what was happening. Again, this tied into my rustic theme, along with the mini chalkboards that I had on the dessert table and wedding favour table for some cute finishing touches. I propped the menus for the table against mini easels too. I also found some gorgeous hessian ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ signs to add to
our chairbacks for the reception. I love vintage suitcases, and found some lovely pastel coloured (cardboard) ones online through Amazon. I used them for people to put their wedding cards in for us. I also filled another wooden crate with wedding favours for the children at our wedding. We had quite a few children as wedding guests our day and I wanted to make them feel included and special. I had separate wedding favours for them labelled with
their names which were all different retro wooden toys, such as yoyo’s, pick up sticks, dominoes, jacks, jenga, Chinese checkers and skipping ropes. This was also a great way to keep the kids entertained. I also had wedding activity packs for the kids with pencils (great for not ruining linen table cloths) with colouring in, mazes, join the dots, etc. to keep them occupied.
I liked the idea of a photo booth, but wanted to do it in our own personalised way. I set up a table with a polaroid camera, plenty of film, double sided tape, metallic pens, stickers and cute decorative stick on frames for people to take photos and sign our guest book, which was a simple kraft book with black ribbon. The guests loved
it and there were even a few little props like moustaches, red lips and top hats on sticks for people to interact with and have fun taking silly photos.
Whilst looking for vintage wedding inspiration on Pinterest, I somehow stumbled across brooch bouquets and became
intrigued. I decided I would make my own brooch bouquet and also the bouquets for my two bridesmaids. I started collecting brooches, earrings, pendants and rings from opshops (charity shops) almost every weekend and kept collecting for a year. I also looked at markets and some of my friends also helped look for me and would bring me pieces that they bought for me. The rule was that it had to be of a flower. I also added a few pieces that were
leaves, bows and butterflies in for some accents. I also put some sentimental pieces in, including my great grandmother’s pearl and crystal flower brooch, a pink crystal brooch that my friend bought me after a trip to Portobello Markets in London and a colleague’s grandmother’s gold and pearl brooch. As the collection started to
grow, I would often play around with arranging them and seeing what would work together. A pattern soon emerged of creams, whites and pastel pinks which I loved for my own bouquet. I then chose my accessories for my outfit (shoes, belt and bag) around these colours. I put together shades of blue, green and yellow for the colour scheme for my Junior Bridesmaid’s bouquet and reds, purples and oranges for my Bridesmaid. I watched Youtube tutorials and taught myself how to make them, using lots of florist wire, gaffer tape and satin ribbon. I was so thrilled with the results and so many of the guests commented on my bouquets and how unique they were. They’re now a lovely keepsake and souvenir for each of us of my beautiful wedding day.
From looking for inspiration online and in magazines, I decided that I liked the idea of flowers hanging from glass bottles in the trees near our ceremony. This was a gorgeous quirky touch that really suited our outdoor setting. I also had flowers hanging from many of the chairs down the aisle, which then doubled up for the wedding breakfast as a way of adding some more blooms to the room. Our florist did a beautiful arrangement for our register signing table, as well as 2 special arrangements to hang from the back of our chairs for our wedding breakfast. Again, I worked with our florist to request pastel colours in our flowers to tie in with our colour scheme, and luckily was able to have my favourite flower of hydrangeas feature in some of the arrangements and as my flower girl’s petals.
The Wedding Party
I love the colour navy and thought it was a good choice for my two bridesmaids during the cooler autumn month of October in Scotland. I chose the 2 dresses in the same colour but different designs from my favourite Australian label, Review. I bought them online and posted them over to my bridesmaids. I chose a longer maxi style for my sister-in-law and a knee-length style for my junior bridesmaid, both featuring vintage inspired lace embellishment. I chose pastel pink accessories for them to break up the darkness of the navy. We found their shoes online and my mum made the pink pearl and crystal earrings and bracelets for them and I sourced some crystal and pearl hair combs for them online from Debenham’s and Etsy. I also decided to give them their brooch bouquets as a gift and memento of the day.
For Keeva my little Flower Girl, I wanted her to look feminine and wear a dress that was appropriate for her age which didn’t make her look too old. We bought most of her outfit from Monsoon. They have the most beautiful range of flower girl dresses that are feminine and not too plain and boring. We got her dress, cardigan, tights and butterfly hairclips from Monsoon. I loved how there were appliquéd flowers on her dress in pastel colours, to tie in with my colour scheme. We also chose some gorgeous pink Ted Baker sparkly shoes for her with bows. I also decorated her Flower Girl petal basket with a spare butterfly and spare flower brooch from my collection from the bouquets, and tied some pink ribbon bows on it to make it more girly for her. She still loves playing with her basket to this day.
Steven chose from the kilts for hire available at his local kilt shop, The Kilt Studio. He ended up choosing the Ben Lomond Tartan, which he thought was very appropriate for our wedding on Loch Lomond. The blues and greens of this tartan provided a nice contrast to Steven’s tartan.
As neither Steven nor I are very religious, we chose to have a Humanist ceremony. We were able to do Skype sessions with our celebrant to get to know her better before our big day and talk about what we would like to include in the ceremony. We had to complete some ‘couples homework’ and email it to her with our answers to questions such as how we met, what we were looking forward to in the future and what we admired about one another. Our celebrant did a great job at integrating all of this into our ceremony and several of our guests commented that it was the most personalised ceremony they had ever attended.
Karen (our celebrant) gave us the option of including a reading as part of our ceremony. We had a look online for some readings and initially thought we might choose some song lyrics, but we found it hard to find something that didn’t sound too soppy or overly romantic, as it just isn’t us. We eventually agreed on a passage called ‘Marriage joins people in the circle of its love’ by Edmund O’Neill. Steven’s mum read this beautifully for us on the day. We
felt it was a good fit for us as it talked about the physical, emotional and spiritual elements of a marriage. One of the highlights of the day was our sand ceremony. We had never heard of this before, but it was one of the options that our celebrant offered as an idea to us as a way of providing some symbolic significance to our ceremony. We loved this idea and collected sand from Bondi Beach, as it is where I spent many weekends swimming as a child, where Steven and I lived together for 4 years when he moved here and as it is the first place I took Steven when he first landed in Sydney. We also used to surf here on weekends together when we lived just up the road. This would be the sand for my bottle. For Steven’s bottle, we collected sand from Loch Lomond as this is where he spent many camping trips with friends when he was younger, it is the first place he took me to see when I landed in Scotland, and of course it was the venue for our wedding. We found a large bottle to pour each of the sands in to, taking it in turns to layer the sand as a symbol of our unity as a married couple, as well as our geographical differences coming together and creating a new blend of sand. The difference in the colours of the 2 different sands was striking and was such a lovely moment. We now have the sand bottle on display on our sideboard
as a memento of our day.
I had seen the idea somewhere of having lawn games after the ceremony and loved the thought of everyone interacting and relaxing whilst enjoying drinks and canapés by the loch. I ordered giant Jenga, quoits, Connect Four, croquet and ladder golf to create a sense of fun and enjoyment for my guests, hopefully in a memorable way that they hadn’t experienced at any other wedding before. To keep the kids entertained, I had wedding activity packs with coloured pencils that I found on sale online. They were able to colour in and complete activities to stop them from getting bored. The children could also play with their wedding favours, which were all retro wooden toys, such as yo-yo’s, pick up sticks, dominoes, jacks, jenga, Chinese checkers and skipping ropes.
Music is hugely important to Steven and I. Steven loves a broad range of styles and often gets called a musical snob as a joke by his friends as he is very particular about what he likes and doesn’t like. This made choosing a wedding band particularly difficult, as Steven was not able to find a band whose repertoire he enjoyed or who he thought had the right feel for our day. So, Steven decided to get into contact with his favourite recording artist, David Ford. David is an established artist from Eastbourne who has recorded 4 albums and various EPs throughout his career. He has a unique style and incorporates the acoustic guitar, mouth organ, piano and an array of loop pedals with lyrics that tell a vivid story. David’s style of music is not what you would typically imagine for a wedding reception, but we didn’t let that faze us as we wanted to have things that were special to us on the day. Both Steven and I had seen David play in concert several times all around the UK and were thrilled when he agreed to play a one hour set for our wedding. The guests were mesmerized by his talent and were raving about his performance well after the wedding. Throughout the rest of the day, we used Spotify playlists that Steven carefully compiled months before the wedding. We had different playlists for different points throughout the day to create different moods, such as a background playlist for the wedding meal, bouncy style songs for the lawn games and a party playlist for the last hours of the evening. This meant that we could personalise the music for the day and save on DJ costs at the same time.
In planning the food for the day, Steven and I both agreed that we didn’t want people to go hungry. We wanted them to feel relaxed and comfortable. We also didn’t like the idea of having the traditional alternating plates of beef or chicken. We wanted our menu to incorporate the best of Scottish and Australian cuisines, as well as some hints of French food, as I am a French teacher. We started off with canapés and champagne by the loch after our ceremony. Our guests enjoyed some local delicacies such as a filo parcel of haggis, neeps and tatties and a blini of smoked salmon with cream cheese.
For our main course, we decided on a BBQ buffet as a nod to Australia and a way of hopefully keeping everyone happy. We thought this was a good way for our guests, particularly the children, to choose exactly what they wanted to eat and how much. We had dishes such as burgers, sausages, chicken skewers and a variety of salads. For dessert, we chose crème brûlée with fresh raspberries as a French component. We also then had a cheese course after this,
as is traditional in a French meal. For the cake, I had known for a long time that I would like a cupcake tower. Our cake designer Suzanne Esper did an amazing job at crafting beautiful cupcakes and a top tier for cutting, all iced in our pastel colours and decorated beautifully with sugar flowers. We had toffee cake with caramel sauce and vanilla buttercream for the top tier, and both coconut cake with lime curd and vanilla buttercream, and chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream for the cupcakes. I love desserts, and decided to have a dessert table with cake pops, cookies and macarons (incorporating my love of all things French). These were all beautifully decorated in the pastel tones with lovely embellishments such as edible lace patterns. We also had an evening buffet with sandwiches, an Indian savoury selection and a fruit platter, etc. to keep everyone’s energy levels up for the dance floor!
Steven and I both agreed that we did not want our photos to look too posed, glossy and staged. We wanted a natural, rustic look to our photographs to suit our outdoor wedding and the vintage style of our day. We came across Maureen online and loved her work. After a Skype session with her we felt she was on our wavelength and really liked her positive energy and passion for shooting outdoor weddings. We have had so many compliments on our beautiful photographs and slideshow that Maureen compiled for us.